12.45 pm, Saturday, 29 July 2012
North Sydney Oval
Browse the 2012 Newtown Jets players & staff gallery
View NSW Cup ladder
Last Sunday's match between Newtown and Balmain (including one of the most spectacular tries you're ever likely to see) will be replayed on Fox Sports 2 and Fox Sports 2 HD, this Wednesday, 1 August, at 4.30pm.
Browse game highlights and moment-by-moment game action, including the wonderful fourth try, in Gary Sutherland's and Jason McCauley's photo galleries.
The return of four players with recent NRL experience assisted the Newtown Jets in their crunch game against the Balmain Tigers on Sunday.
The Jets won by 36-18 in this 21st round VB NSW Cup match played at North Sydney Oval as part of a series of NSW Rugby League theme double-headers. Having lost five of their previous six matches, the Jets needed this win badly and the return of forwards Jack Bosden and Mose Masoe and backs Daniel Mortimer and Adam Henry could not have been more timely.
The Tigers aggregate scores over the two games won them the Trevor Ryan-Neil Pringle Shield but Newtown won the a Foundation Cup, awarded to the winners of each of the foundation club double-headers.
Tight early in first half
The two old 1908 foundation club rivals traded tries early in the game and Newtown's repeated handling errors would have been a matter of concern to their coaching staff.
The Jets were leading 10-6 when the Tigers had a forward sent from the field for a high tackle.
The incident appeared to provide the Jets with some impetus and centre Adam Henry showed clever footwork in getting across the try-line.
Five minutes before halftime the Jets laid on what might well be the try of the 2012 VB NSW cup season, with some exhilarating ball-work between Adam Henry, Daniel Tupou and Daniel Mortimer ending in a try to second-rower Brad Barrett.
Mortimer's conversion gave Newtown a 20-6 halftime lead, with that showpiece try drawing comparisons with the fabled 1951 French Rugby League touring team.
Jets recover from poor second half start
The Jets continued to turn over possession early in the second half but a spectacular midfield surge and equally impressive off-load by Mose Masoe saw Daniel Mortimer collect his second try.
A converted try to Balmain midway through the second half kept the Tigers hopes alive, but tries to Jack Littlejohn and Samiu Latu gave the Jets an unassailable 36-12 lead.
The Tigers added another converted try right on fulltime.
Coaching staff's assessment
While Jets coach Greg Matterson and his staff were more than pleased to take the competition points, there was still concern about the amount of dropped ball and the team's low completion rates.
Matterson noted that a lot of improvement was needed in these areas as the Jets face three of the competition's top four in the remaining rounds, plus the battle for a place in the top eight remains as intense as ever.
The coaching staff regarded Newtown's uneven second half as somewhat of a lost opportunity to boost the Jets' for and against differential, especially with the Tigers being shorthanded for most of the game.
They noted Francis Vaiotu's successful return to the team after an injury-disrupted first half of the season and they made special mention of hooker Kurt Kara for his high work-rate in defence and with the ball.
Newtown 36 [Daniel Mortimer 2, Jack Littlejohn, Adam Henry, Daniel Tupou, Brad Barrett, Samiu Latu tries; Mark Kheirallah 2, Daniel Mortimer 2 goals]
Balmain Ryde-Eastwood 18 [3 tries, 3 goals]
Half-time: Jets led 20-6.
Officials: Referee, David Munro; Touch judges, Brendan Wood, Nathan Smith.
Weather cold but sunny. Pitch well-grassed except in the area of North Sydney Oval's notoriously hard cricket pitch.
The Newtown Jets travel to Brookvale Oval next Saturday, 4 August to play Manly-Warringah, with this 22nd round match timed to start at 3.00pm.